Making your website mobile-friendly isn’t just a good idea – it’s a necessity. With more people accessing the Web via smartphones and tablets these says, any site administrators who haven’t “mobile-equipped” their online real estate are well behind the curve. In 2011, do you really want to miss out on a substantial chunk of traffic just because your site is hard to read on an iPhone?
Of course not. That’s why many sites direct mobile traffic to sub-domains (e.g. “example.com” becomes “mobile.example.com”), a workable solution if you have time to generate new versions of each page from scratch.
Luckily for WordPress users, mobile themes like WPTouch and WordPress Mobile Pack offer a better alternative to mobile sub-domains. Here are 3 reasons why:
Having a mobile sub-domain requires you to maintain multiple versions of each and every page – a laborious task if you don’t have a large staff.
Mobile themes, on the other hand, simply deliver all of your existing content in a mobile-friendly format. You can maintain your site as usual and rest assured that everything will display properly in mobile browsers.
When other sites link to your content, those links help you rank higher in the search engines. If you have multiple domains, all of which have different permalinks for each page, you forfeit your ability to rank well in the search listings.
Think of it this way: I post an update on my blog and get 10 links. 5 of those links are from desktop users, and they point to the post on my main domain. The other 5 links come from mobile users, all of whom were redirected from my main domain to a dedicated mobile sub-domain. Their links go to the mobile version of the post – the one they pulled up on their phones.
Instead of getting 10 links for my post, I really only got 5 for each version – a situation that leads to lower overall rankings for my content.
With a mobile WordPress theme, however, your content stays in one place. The page you serve to mobile visitors is the same one that exists on your main domain – everyone who links to it is linking to the same page.
Mobile sub-domains can also cause social media havoc.
Let’s say you tweet a link from your phone and your colleague clicks it on her desktop computer. She’ll get the mobile version of the site that you tweeted – a version that is probably all text, heavily compressed into a tiny column, and devoid of any navigational links to help her explore other corners of your site.
This is not good for the user, and it’s unlikely that she’ll share any of your content with others.
Again, your mobile WordPress theme can save the day here. With no separate link for anyone to share, you don’t risk serving the wrong version of your site to any visitors.
And since several mobile themes are free, there’s little reason to put off “mobilizing” your site any longer. Spend an afternoon setting up a mobile WordPress theme and stop missing out on all that great traffic.